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Fraser’s Steps

Fraser is a playful and lively five year old from Newcastle with a great sense of humour.

He is very outgoing and observant and likes to carefully try new things. Fraser is very close to his older brother and they spend their time playing with action figures, doing puzzles and spending as much time outdoors as they can – even if it’s raining.

Fraser has Dyspraxia which affects his movement, coordination and speech. This can make everyday living a challenge for him. His Mum describes Dyspraxia as being like a stroke but with no medical intervention available.

Fraser was late to start walking and had a bad fall where he broke his arm and had a concussion. This impacted on his confidence but didn’t stop his motivation. The family’s physiotherapist referred Fraser to the TAD Hunter Branch for equipment which could help.

Fraser’s first piece of equipment was the Access Platform and Rail to support his balance when getting on and off the toilet. This meant Fraser could have independence and safety when in the bathroom and also took some pressure off his parents who were experiencing back pain from lifting him.

A trampoline was recommended for Fraser for play time and intervention. It has been a key developer for his balance and fitness but the family still had to lift Fraser on and off anytime he wanted to use it.

Again their physiotherapist referred them to TAD Hunter Branch and TAD Volunteer Geoff Winsley came out to see what could be done.

Geoff measured both the trampoline and Fraser. He then discussed with the family and the physiotherapist what the best solution would be.

He organised his workshop team John Saunders, Kevin Vincer and Peter Cork to build a set of stairs that would be the right height for Fraser, with railings on the side at the correct position for safety

Geoff carefully picked the materials and coating to make the stairs weather proof. He left the natural grooves in the wood for traction and to make the stairs aesthetically pleasing.

Now Fraser is able to climb on and off the trampoline by himself which has even made a difference to his relationship with his brother. Now the boys can play with each other on the trampoline when they want and be on the same level.

Fraser’s Dad, David, says, ‘They are so much more than steps. They help Fraser be independent; he can develop himself as a person and be Fraser. It gives him a sense of identity. It’s had a massive impact just being able get on to the trampoline when he wants.’

The stairs help Fraser stand up, stay safe and develop confidence. David says, ‘Their sturdy construction has meant that Fraser can play safely and build muscle strength as well.’

‘Geoff really took care to ensure the stairs were perfect for Fraser and good and lasting which is very important. Projects aren’t just put in but also maintained to make sure they are still safe to use.’

About TAD David says, ‘It’s a wonderful service and the stairs don’t just work well but they look nice. I think it’s just fantastic and has changed Fraser’s life. It’s made a difference to the whole family – now we can have more time as a family rather than just being carers.’

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TAD acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures and to elders past, present and emerging.